eThekwini employee nabbed for theft of CCTV equipment

An eThekwini Municipality employee was arrested for theft and vandalism of municipal CCTV infrastructure. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/Independent Newspapers

An eThekwini Municipality employee was arrested for theft and vandalism of municipal CCTV infrastructure. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 21, 2024


A 30-year-old employee of the eThekwini Municipality was arrested on Tuesday at the Municipal Disaster Management Centre in Durban in a multi-disciplinary operation after he was allegedly caught on surveillance footage vandalising and stealing CCTV infrastructure.

Speaking moments after the employee was whisked away by police in handcuffs, Vincent Ngubane, head of the city’s Disaster Management and Emergency Services Unit, said the suspect had been employed as an operator in the CCTV surveillance room for more than three years.

He said the city had worked hard to repair the cameras just before the festive season and there had been an outcry that the CCTV cameras were not working.

“Besides the weather that had an impact on the infrastructure, we didn't know that one of our own was behind the sabotage.”

He said the city had noticed that each time the cameras were repaired, some days later they would not be working.

“From 7-8 of this month, the entire Victoria Embankment system was down and this raised concern.

We started to check if it wasn’t the fibre, power or maybe related to the load shedding, but we found that it was not.”

Ngubane said they then checked the internal equipment and established that a lot of the cables for the servers for the area were all cut.

“We checked our surveillance cameras and found that one of our own was cutting the servers that link to the Victoria Embankment cameras.

“We further searched the footage and established that he was busy on a few occasions stealing the screens from one of the rooms.”

He said the city would investigate the reasons for the crime and to determine whether the employee may have been working with a syndicate outside the municipality to commit crimes.

Ngubane added that the employee, who cannot be named until he appears in court, has been suspended.

Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda commended the law enforcement agencies, the Disaster Management Unit and the City Integrity and Investigations Unit for their swift response.

“We are committed to rooting out any form of criminality within the municipality and have adopted a zero-tolerance approach towards lawlessness. This city has no room for criminals and will not allow anyone who will compromise the safety of our residents, visitors and businesses,” said Kaunda.

The city has opened a criminal case against the suspect for theft, sabotage and vandalism of municipal infrastructure.

IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi applauded and commended city officials for taking action.

“Now we know why CCTV cameras were not working and failing to give results and catch criminals,” he said.

DA eThekwini caucus leader Thabani Mthethwa, said this was not an isolated incident and it was a huge problem across different departments within the municipality.

He said employees were involved with crime syndicates who were crippling the city.

“Recently suspects were caught with property belonging to eThekwini Municipality. Until such a time that management sits down and devises a strategy, this will always be a problem.”

Mthethwa said the DA had always called for city employees who are suspended not to return to their roles.

“There should be very severe consequence management,” he said.

The Mercury